Thursday, February 28, 2008

Should Planned Parenthood Accept Racists' Donations?

In the USA pro-life groups are currently running a campaign designed to smear Planned Parenthood with the claim that the pro-choice organization accepts knowingly donations from racists, and, as a corollary that it is a racist organization. Here's what happened: a pro-life activist group called Planned Parenthood offices across the USA. Their caller pretended to be a racist wanting to earmark a donation toward assisting African American pregnant women to have an abortion. To leave Planned Parenthood staffers in no doubt about his racist agenda, the caller made clear that he's concerned that his fictional white newborn might suffer as a result of affirmative action policies and so he wants to have his donation go toward the abortion of a 'black baby' (no doubt he meant fetus, but that's neither here nor there, and pro-lifers usually miss out on nitty-gritty details such as developmental stages of embryos).

So, Planned Parenthood staffers across the US told him that they'd happily accept his donation (and earmark it according to his wishes). Nobody said: we do not accept donations from racists. Pro-life groups are trying currently hard to give the impression that individual staffers were motivated by racist motives, but a fair evaluation of the videos the group posted on youtube suggests nothing of that sort. Planned Parenthood has always taken a liberal, pro-choice stance on the abortion issue, so it could not say that it takes donations to assist women of all colors to have abortions if they so wish, whatever their reasons, unless they happen to be African American. So, Planned Parenthood then offers termination of pregnancy to African American women as well as to women of any other skin color.

Comes the racist donor along. Well, of course there can't be an issue for Planned Parenthood in terms of accepting the donation! Big deal. If you've some racist idiot who wants to give a million dollars to Planned Parenthood so that more African American women can be assisted in having a termination of pregnancy, the organization should accept the money. End of story. African American women, like any other client of the organization ask to have a termination of pregnancy out of their own free will. So the money would not suddenly go toward forcing African American women to have abortions that they do not wish to have. If anything it would assist more such women to access affordable reproductive health services.

Just as importantly, perhaps, is of course that the donation provided by the racist would free the organization to re-direct financial resources to women of other color, including white women wanting to have an abortion (probably much to the horror of the racist).

So, here's that big old lesson then one more time: It's not motives that matter, but outcomes. In this hypothetical case, everyone would be better off: the racist is happy, because he thinks he served a racist cause (little does he know that he didn't, of course); African American women, because more of them would be able to access Planned Parenthood's services; women of any other color, including white women, because more money would be available for them after the donation earmarked for black women.

Pro-life activism, intellectually impoverished as it is, seems to know no shame in terms of how it campaigns for its causes. To produce videos linking Planned Parenthood to the KKK and trying to align themselves with Martin Luther King jr's civil rights movement is breathtaking.


  1. A great article to raise awareness on what those of us who participate in the sexual and reproductive rights moevement have to deal with. The christian right dedicates more time to perfecting scams where our opinions and actions may be misinterpreted than to the christian mandates of charity or neighbourly love.
    Thanks for not letting this ridiculous stunt go unnoticed.
    Moisés Russo MD, MBE

  2. Actually, it was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who first aligned himself with the pro-life cause, not vice versa. His family continued to act and speak on behalf of the unborn and against abortion long after his death.
    And it was Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, who was delighted to be invited to several KKK meetings to speak after one such group loved her appearance at their racist meeting. No activist had to make any of these facts up; they are simply already part of the historical record, ripe for attention after a receptionist went beyond accepting money and called this fake, racist donor's offer, "exciting."
    Before one writes a column on such a deep topic, the least one could do is a little research on these facts. To do otherwise would be, let's say, "intellectually impoverished."
    -Anonymous intellectual, pro-life activist

  3. that's all very interesting, but neither the fact that MLKjr may have been a pro-lifer nor the fact that the founder of PP may have been a racist changes much w/ re to the substance of the analysis that i have offered... - as ever, i enjoy your arguments, mr/ms 'anonymous', intellectual or otherwise :-)


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.